Professional development conferences are an investment of time and money. When you attend a women’s professional development conference, you leave inspired and motivated to change the world. You make new connections, rekindle existing relationships and increase your chances of a pay increase. These conferences for women feel extra special if you’re in a male dominated industry and get to spend a day with a room filled with women.
One of the easiest ways to attend a women’s conference is to work for a company that sponsors a women’s professional development conference. Sponsor companies are likely to provide a certain amount of tickets to their employees free of charge and may even sponsor travel to attend the conference. Which women’s conferences are worth your time, and which conferences should you advocate that your company invest in sending you to? Here are the 10 best professional development conferences for women that come highly rated.
Aren’t sure if you should attend a women’s conference in 2020? Learn about why you should attend a women’s conference and what to expect.
Grace Hopper is the largest gathering of women in technology in the planet and is one of the best conferences for women to attend if you’re in the technology industry. The technology sector historically has been a male dominated industry so this is a great opportunity to meet other women in the tech sector. Grace Hopper provides opportunities to network and attend sessions on artificial intelligence (AI), career, data science, software engineering, mentoring circles, IoT/ wearable tech, tech for women and more. The full agenda for Grace Hopper 2019 can be found here.
Grace Hopper is held once a year in the US (location varies every year) in October and once a year in India in November. Corporate sponsors for 2019 include Amazon, American Express, Apple, Cisco and Microsoft. Grace Hopper 2020 will be hosted in Orlando and run from September 29 until October 2.
Mass Conference for Women
Mass Conference for Women is a full day conference that provides the opportunity to network, motivate, inspire and build skills. This conference is held annually in December in Boston. Sessions include career advancement, leadership and career transitions. There are multiple keynote speakers including Megan Rapinoe and Malala Yousafzai in 2019. The conference has a sponsored floor which in the past has included opportunities to get professional LinkedIn pictures taken for free. Prior to the full day conference there is an opening night reception where you have the opportunity to walk around the floor and listen to other speakers.
More than 10,000 people attend the Mass Conference for Women each year. Key sponsors include State Street, Boston Scientific, Merck and Target. Registration for 2020 opens up in June.
The Texas Conference for Women
The Texas Conference for Women is an annual conference held in Austin, TX in October. This conference is run by the same team that runs the Mass Conference for Women, Pennsylvania Conference for Women, and Watermark Conference for Women. As a result, the aspects of the conference are very similar but the composition of the attendees are more likely to be from the local sponsors. A few of the keynote speakers the same at every conference so the best conference to attend is the conference closest to you. Key sponsors include Liberty Mutual, Target and Cisco.
Pennsylvania Conference for Women
The PA Conference for Women is held annually in October in Philadelphia. This conference is also run by the same team that runs Mass Conference for Women, The Texas Conference for Women and Watermark Conference for Women. Key sponsors include WSFS bank, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Qurate Retail Group and Target.
Watermark Conference for Women
The Watermark Conference for Women is held annually in February in San Jose. In 2020, the Watermark Conference for Women will be held February 11th and 12th at the San Jose Convention Center. This conference is also run by the same team that runs Mass Conference for Women, The Texas Conference for Women and PA Conference for Women. In 2020, the keynote speakers include Megan Rapinoe and Indra Nooyi. Key sponsors include Prudential, Gilead, Juniper Networks and Target.
Simmon’s Leadership Conference
Simmon’s Leadership Conference is held annually in April in Boston and now has an international conference held annually in Dublin in November. The 41st Simmon’s Leadership Conference will be held April 16th and keynote speakers include Serena Williams. Registration for 2020 is already open. It is a full day conference with prominent female speakers who are role models and thought leaders. Motivational speakers in the past have included Meg Whitman, Michelle Obama, Billy Jean King and Laverne Cox. In addition to the keynote speaker sessions there are breakout sessions around advancing your career, career transitions and more. Key sponsors include Dell Technologies, Cisco and Liberty Mutual Insurance.
The SHE Summit in New York City is a two day conference filled with leadership sessions, 30+ speakers, networking and professional development. This conference caters to a wide range of industries and roles; however, the content is focused on the global private sector. Key sponsors include Home Depot, Target and Samsung. In 2020 SHE Summit will be held in November and tickets are already on sale.
The Power Rising Summit is held annually in April. The location varies every year. In 2020 the summit will be held in Baltimore from April 16th to April 19th. This summit provides a space for black women to turn their power into action and create an actionable agenda. The content is primarily organized around five key pillars: Business and Economic Empowerment; Culture, Community, and Society; Education, Technology and Innovation; Health and Wellness; and Political Empowerment.
NAFE Twin Cities Women’s Leadership Summit
The NAFE Twin Cities Women’s Leadership Summit is held annually in July. This Summit includes summits that will strengthen leadership skills and achieve career grown. The programming is tailored to the Twin Cities business environment and also tailored to mid-level and high-potential / high-achieving women. Past key sponsors include Ameriprise Financial, Boston Scientific and Medtronic.
Indiana Conference for Women
The Indiana Conference for Women is held annually in November at the Indiana Convention Center. In 2020 the Indiana Conference for Women will be held on November 10th. This conference is the largest one day event for professional and entrepreneurial women in the Midwest. It was created to serve the broadest scope of women, encompassing all ages, education and career segments. Key sponsors include Indiana University, Strada and RepuCare.
Best Conferences for Women Summary
If you’re on the fence about attending a conference for women learn about why you should attend that women’s conference. Have you attended any of the conferences above? What was your experience? Are there any conferences for women not listed above that should be added to this list?
I’ve never attended a Women’s Conference but they all seem great! I would love to be able to attend one of these one day!
I hope you get the opportunity! Talk to your manager and see if your company sponsors any (if you work for a corporation). Another good way to start is to see if your college sponsors or is involved in any women’s conferences. There may be an opportunity to buy a ticket at a reduced cost or volunteer.